I have gotten better at not doing tsundoku. When I was younger I amassed hundreds of books but didn’t read them all. And even if I didn’t even plan on reading a book, I could not let go of it. That would be sacrilegious. It didn’t help that when I was studying at university, there was a £2 bookshop where every book was only £2. I dragged suitcases of books back home.
Enter the year 2016, I have finished university, and am planning on moving abroad (again). I’d read Marie Kondo’s book and cleaned out as best as I could the little room I was staying in. Now it was time to tackle my room at home.
I piled all my books on the bed.
I went from 304 to 124. It took a lot to get to that number. But it is as they say, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Last time I was home I got rid of even more books and have only about 40 left, but even now I look at the books left and think “I don’t need that one, nor that one…” so I am itching to go back and get rid of more.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t stopped loving books. But I just want to surround myself with my favorites, the ones that truly “spark joy”.
When I used to hoard books, I also was very reluctant not to finish a book, it felt wrong somehow. So even when I didn’t really like it, I had to stick it out. And then of course, not get rid of it, stick it back on the shelf so I would have to look at it every day. And my tsundoku pile (or mountain more like) would never get smaller. The pile would haunt me, taunt me. I would feel bad, stress would pile on and it was frankly, tiring.
Now I am more comfortable to not finish a book if I find that I am just not that into it, and even to get rid of it (not throwing it in the trash of course).
Thus, my books don’t pile up anymore in impossible-to-finish piles. I might buy many books in a short amount of time, but I won’t get suffocated by the unread amount.
I guess it also helps that I am living in Japan where Japanese books are cheap (to me) but they take longer to finish so I mostly don’t overbuy, and foreign books are expensive so I won’t buy one unless I truly want it on my shelf.
This went on a long tangent it feels like. And my tsundoku pile isn’t getting smaller by going on tangents so I better get back to reading.